From Our Report to the President’s Lips

January 29, 2014

If you were paying attention during the State of the Union Address, you would have heard President Obama share the powerful story of Andra Rush, the CEO of Detroit Manufacturing Systems and a Native American businesswoman from Michigan.

My jaw dropped. And if I had been in mid-sip of my tea I probably would’ve spit it across my living room.

Of course, we’ve heard enough SOTU’s and political stump speeches to know that stories of personal triumph of every day Americans are par for the course. But it’s different when the President talks about someone you know (or at least know of), and you realize you played a small part in making it happen.

Last November, NDD United released Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure to educate policymakers, the media, and the public about the value of federally funded “nondefense discretionary” (NDD) programs, and the impact austerity has on real Americans across the country by sharing their personal stories. My colleague and NDD United co-chair, Rachel Gragg of the National Skills Coalition, wrote about Focus: HOPE, a Detroit-based workforce development and education provider that serves low-income, minority individuals and families on their path to becoming self-sufficient. Detroit Manufacturing Systems partners with and relies heavily upon on Focus: HOPE to train a high-skilled workforce.